In today’s diverse world, when two people are joined together in the sanctity of marriage, it’s common for them to put their own unique stamp on their wedding by incorporating their culture. For Italians, there’s a pretty large pool of marriage customs to pull from. If this is you, don’t be intimidated by the long list of Italian marriage customs. If anything, take it as an opportunity to take what you love about Italian marriage customs, and leave the rest. Either way you’ll have the freedom to place your own unique stamp on your perfect wedding by incorporating your heritage into one of the most important days of your life.
Italian wedding customs date back to ancient Roman ceremonies, which makes them some of the oldest in the world. It was the Roman goddess Juno, who is the guardian of marriage, home, and childbirth, who deemed June to be the most popular month of the year for weddings, which, to this day still holds true. When you begin booking vendors for a June ceremony, you'll notice that it’s a busy time for weddings.
Traditional Roman brides were required to wear veils because they were thought to protect them from evil spirits. They were also required to carry bouquets of herbs, which symbolized fertility and fidelity. IT was customary for guests to toss rice at the couple as they made their way down the aisle after saying their vows, as a wish of fertility. Do any of these traditions sound familiar?
It was, and still is a traditional custom for Italian weddings to include “fede”—which means faith—as an Italian wedding blessing. During the fede, the priest elaborates on the couple’s vows and what they mean.
Also included in a traditional Italian wedding ceremony is a nuptial blessing, wherein the priest blesses the bride and groom and wishes them a life full of worship and serving God. Directly following the nuptial blessing, the couple partakes in communion as well as a final prayer. At this point they are pronounced husband and wife.
Since most traditional Italian weddings were Roman Catholic, and quite lengthy, they would begin in the morning and end late in the evening after a full course dinner and dancing.
It’s also an Italian wedding tradition for the bride and groom to give their guests mesh bags full of chocolate covered almonds. These candies represent the bitterness and sweetness of life, with the almond symbolizing the bitterness, and the chocolate symbolizing the sweetness. These goodies are given out at weddings all over the world to this day.
Some Italian couples would choose to have an Italian blessing ceremony. This type of service still takes place to this day, and usually in a vineyard, garden, or courtyard. The Italian blessing ceremony is a celebration of the couple's union, but is not a legal marriage.